Looking to locals to guide Hurunui health care into the future

The Hurunui community are invited to find out about plans for both a local community group and local health and wellbeing provider group to guide development of the region’s health care services at a series of drop-in sessions. 

The sessions will give people an opportunity to meet with members of the Hurunui Health Services Development Group (HHSDG) to discuss the purpose and function of the new groups and find out about health service enhancements already achieved through the model of care process. 

There are five sessions planned across the district in June:

  • Friday 18 June, 2.00-3.00pm - Knox Hall in Cheviot
  • Friday 18 June, 4.00-5.00pm - Hurunui District Council Chambers in Amberley
  • Monday 21 June, 10.00-11.00am - Waikari Memorial Hall
  • Monday 21 June, 12:30-1:30pm - Rotherham Hall
  • Monday 21 June, 2:30-3:30pm - Hanmer Springs Library

HHSDG chair Marie Black says group members have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to progress recommendations, which were developed with input from the community during 2017 and 2018. 

“The group has achieved several milestones which they, and our community, should be proud of. This work has improved health care delivery to the region’s people and whānau,” says Marie. 

“The plan is to now create a local community group in addition to a health and wellbeing provider group to provide leadership for ongoing improvements and monitoring the region’s access to health services.”

For people interested in joining one of the voluntary groups there will be details at the information sessions. Members are needed from a wide range of perspectives, including people that bring a diversity of age, ethnicity, area of residence and experience within the community. 

Waitaha Primary Health Chief Executive Bill Eschenbach says that his organisation has a big part to play going forward, not only to support general practice in the Hurunui, but to also ensure that the Hurunui community can have their say in helping to shape the future delivery of health services. 

“We look forward to having the health and wellbeing providers working alongside the community to identify opportunities to improve the health and wellbeing services and position the Hurunui at the forefront of the Government’s Health and Disability System Review, which places people, whānau and communities at the centre of health services,” says Bill.

Once the two local groups are established, HHSDG will hand over the baton, having completed the work within their mandate.

Some highlights the group has achieved through the model of care include:

  • Local General Practices extending their after-hours services by working collaboratively with their practice team members, emergency trained primary care staff, St John and Fire & Emergency New Zealand (FENZ). 
  • A way of providing rural restorative care, so people needing more intensive support after illness or a period in hospital can get assistance in their own home, which may be from district nurses, general practice staff, home care support workers and allied health workers. 
  • Outpatient appointment times are now booked with consideration to people travelling from out of Christchurch, such as scheduling appointment times between 10am and 2pm to allow travel time, booking multiple appointments on the same day and using telephone and telehealth (online) appointments where clinically appropriate. 
  • A Transfer of Care project has been completed to guide hospital staff supporting patients transferring from Christchurch or Burwood Hospitals to their home. It identifies what health services are available in a person’s local rural community.

The HHSDG has also worked with local maternity health providers to ensure pregnant women are cared for as close to home as possible. Seventeen Lead Maternity Carers work in the Hurunui with most holding antenatal clinics at the Rangiora Health Hub, where there is a Maternity Unit. The Mother-4-Mother Programme is running in the district, where local mothers who have trained to be peer supporters share their breastfeeding knowledge with other mothers. Following a discussion between new mothers and the HHSDG, Waitaha Primary Health supported a new group to be trained for Cheviot and Rotherham whānau. 

“These milestones demonstrate the value of the community voice. That bringing people together to work collectively can achieve positive change,” says Marie.

“Come along to the sessions and share in the next journey and be part of making health services in the Hurunui the best they can be.”

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